*Freestyle music is enjoying its 8th year at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. Produced by Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records, “Forever Freestyle 8,” featuring Stevie B, Lisa Lisa., TKA’K7, Safire, Johnny O, Cynthia, Lydia Lee Love, Nayobe, Sammy Zone and Fonda Rae will bring Latin dance music to the stage on Saturday, March 1, at 8:00 p.m.
*Those who have a passion for guitars will be in heaven on Sunday, March 23 at 3:00pm, when three exceptional guitarists bring their Guitar Passions to Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx.
Sharon Isbin the preeminent guitarist of our time, will share the stage with two of her album collaborators, American Jazz artist Stanley Jordan and Brazilian jazz master Romero Lubambo.
*If you are a lover of Rock ‘n Roll, your doo-wop and rock ‘n roll dreams will be answered on Saturday, January 18th at 8:00 pm when Rock ‘n Roll will be here to stay at LehmanCenter for the Performing Arts in the Bronx.
Groups like Fred Parris and the 5 Satins, The Belmonts, The Chiffons, Larry Chance & the Earls, Shirley Auston Reeves and Danny and the Juniors will take center stage to rock your world.
Eddie Levert was in a jovial mood shortly after the New Year’s holiday when we chatted about his upcoming concert at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
Eddie intends to “Give the People What They Want” when he and his fellow O’Jays regale the audience with their favorite O’Jay tunes like “Love Train,” The Backstabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” “I Love Music,” “Darlin’Darlin’ Baby” and Use ta Be My Girl,” etal.
*Comedian Paul Rodriquez and 4 other comedians Ruperto Vanderpool, Jochy Santos, Cuquin Victoria and singer and comedian Anthony Rios will take over the stage at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Festival Del Humor: A Night of Laughter to Remember during the Thanksgiving weekend of Saturday, November 30th at 8:00 pm. Lehman Center for the Performing Arts located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, is in its 33rd season.
Paul Rodriquez is revered as one of the first Latin Kings of Comedy. He is also one of the co-owners of the Laugh Factory out in LA where Michael Richards (formerly Kramer in Seinfeld) had his racist episode with two African American hecklers. Paul has made several TV appearances and hosted Mis Videos Locos on TV, as well as hosted the Newly Wed Game. His film credits include Blood Work; D.C. Cab; Born in East LA; Tortilla Soup; Rat Race and Ali. His very recognizable voice has added voiceover background to King of the Hill, Dora the Explorer and Beverly HillsChihuahua. He directed and starred in the film “A Million to Juan” and he produced and appeared in the 2002 comedy film “The Original Latin Kings of Comedy.” He is planning a theatrical release of the motion picture comedy, “Gravy” which will be out in December 2013. He also pitched a show to the networks called Three Generations starring Paul, his son Paul and Edward James Olmos. The show is expected to get the green light.
Rodriguez has been nominated for two American Latino Media Arts Awards, an Imagen Award and won an NCLR Bravo Award. He was also acknowledged with a “Humanitarian of the Year Award” by the City of Fresno for his work in the area of water conservation.
Paul came from a family of 12. His Mother had 5 children and his Dad had his own set of children as well. “We moved to America when I was two years old, so I have vague memories of Mexico” said Paul. “I think my father wanted his own baseball team with all 12 kids,” quipped Paul.
Paul was born in Mexico to a family of migrant farm workers. His father was contracted to work for a season and then decided to immigrant to America for a better opportunity. “My father saw a better way of life in America for the family so he moved us here. We spent most of my youth traveling around the country from harvest to harvest, picking everything the earth grew,” recalled Rodriquez.
“When I began to make money, like every other kid I wanted to buy a farm for my mom. I bought my parents a citrus ranch and that is what they did until their death. Then my sisters and brothers took it over. I have farming in my blood but I am not very good at it. I guess all that traveling and staying on the road during my childhood taught me to survive on the road because my life as an entertainer keeps me on the road.”
Paul thinks the rural way of life sets a good example for urban youth. “I think they can learn something about morality working the land. They took a survey wherein they asked kids where eggs came from and the popular answer was the refrigerator,” chuckled Paul. “I think a good couple of weeks on a farm would give kids a good education and an appreciation for the world around them.”
With Thanksgiving coming up, Paul spends Thanksgiving on the road since his mother died. Due to his travel schedule, his family has Thanksgiving in October to accommodate his schedule; although he is able to spend Christmas with his family. “My family fries the turkey and stuffs it with dried red peppers and it’s really delicious. Colonel Saunders has nothing on the way Spanish people fry turkey,” says the comedian. “Someone needs to open up a Colonel Saunders Fried Turkey Shop and I think that would really sell like crazy. My mother used to coat the turkey with crushed corn flakes and honey put into egg batter. It makes for a mean sweet turkey. I tell a joke about how African Americans and Mexicans love fried food. But Mexicans love to double fry,” claims the jokester.
Paul will feel right at home in the LehmanCenter neighborhood since he grew up in a mixed community of Black folks and Latinos. Since it’s his first appearance at LehmanCenter, Mr. Rodriguez is looking forward to performing at the venue and promises it will be a family orientated show free of profanity, so bring grandma and the kids he says.
If you are a fan of Paul Rodriguez or just in love with comedy in general, be sure to catch this laugh fest. Tickets can be purchased at the Lehman Center Box Office by calling 718-960-8833 or by going online at www.lehmancenter.org
Deardra Shuler is a well published journalist who has profiled celebrities and written about people of note for many years. In addition to her column at EURweb.com, she is the host of her radio show “Topically Yours” on BlakeRadio.com and has shows featured on NPR via Initiative Radio. Ms. Shuler is featured in several papers. Her international column in Sweden, “Music Pastures” is available at http://soulinterviews.com. Interested parties can acquire info regarding Deardra through Writspirit.com, Tagged.com, Facebook and Google. Contact her via: Writspirit@aol.com.
Photo by Michael Schwartz
*When I was a little girl my mother often sang the song, “I Wish You Love,” a hit that would become singer Gloria Lynne’s signature song.
This song had special meaning for my mother and knowing how important the song was to her, it became important to me. I never thought when I became an adult I would meet and eventually befriend Gloria Lynne, but that is the way it turned out.
Age can be taxing, and at 83 years old, Gloria Lynne’s body began to fail, even though her mind and spirit remained indomitable. Gloria fell ill. She was on the road to recovery when she was forced to return to Columbus Hospital, where Gloria Lynne, the great jazz, blues, soul and R&B vocalist and legend, succumbed to a heart attack on Tuesday, October 15th at 11:00 pm in Newark, NJ. Gloria’s funeral is to be held on Monday, October 28th at her favorite church in Harlem, Abyssinian Baptist, located at 132 Odell Park Place, (138th Street between Adam Clayton Powell and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvds). Church doors open at 12 noon and service starts at 1:00 p.m.
Over the years, I followed Gloria Lynne’s career, attending a few concerts, chatting on the phone and falling in love with the woman and her voice. What struck me about the glorious Miss Gloria was her strength, her charm and her ability to meet adversity with faith and each triumph with grace. Her talent was God given and Gloria knew it. Gloria worked her entire life, having last appeared at the “54 Below club” in August.
During her career, Ms. Lynne made nearly 400 recordings. She worked with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Mathias, Quincy Jones, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, the Delltones, Bobby Timmons, and Billy Eckstine, etc. She recorded songs like “The Jazz In You,” “The Folks Who Live On the Hill,” “I Am Glad There’s You,” “Joey Joey Joey,” “June Nights,” and of course her signature song, “I Wish You Love.” King Curtis wrote the blues song “Soul Serenade” just for Gloria’s voice and the song became a hit.
Gloria Lynne was a songwriter herself. She worked on Watermelon Man with Herbie Hancock, “All Day Long,” with Kenny Burrell and “Lend Me Yesterday,” with her friend and lyricist, Ann Rubino. She also sang the soundtrack for the movies “U-turn” and “Seven.”
Gloria Lynne was born Gloria Wilson in Harlem. She had 3 siblings. Her mother and father separated when Gloria was 3 years old. When she was 15, she won an Amateur Night contest at the Apollo Theatre by singing “Don’t Take Your Love From Me.” She recorded her first album to earn tuition for medical school. It was never her intention to have a musical career, but once the recording hit, her musical career was launched. She got into the record industry by doing demos for singers such as Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughn. This enabled Gloria to get a recording contract with Everest. She was with Everest for 7 years. In the earlier days of her career, Lynne sang with an all girl group called the Delltones, later singing with the Enchanters. She performed with Harry Belafonte’s Strolling 20s TV special where she was in the company of artists like Sammy Davis, Jr., Nipsey Russell, Duke Ellington and Diahann Carroll.
So many artists of that era talk about the exploitation of artists by the record companies. Gloria was no exception. Most of her life, Gloria had trouble collecting royalties due her. In fact, as big as her hit I Wish You Love became, Gloria was never paid a dime. To make ends meet when living in California, she secretly worked at Bank of America, while keeping her recording career and night club appearances going.
My radio interview with Gloria Lynne can be accessed via http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blakeradio/2009/06/06/topically-yours-1
Gloria married Harry Alleyne and from that union produced her sole heir and son, Richard P.J. Alleyne. She is presently survived by him.
An eclectic singer, Gloria Lynne had many fans from around the world enabling her to pack the house during most of her live performances. I will miss Gloria. She was a positive person in my life. She loved her fans and I know that on whatever other worldly plane her soul may now exist, she would say to us all, “I Wish You Love.” We wish you love too, Gloria.